Rye Boys’ Golf McHugh, Garnets Take Sectional Titles in Come-From-Behind Thrillers

Boys Golf“I only go back about 25 years, and I never had a kid win two times!” Rye Boys’ Golf Coach Pat Romano was over the moon after Garnet golfer James McHugh came from four strokes back to claim his second straight Section One championship on Scarsdale’s Fenway Golf Club course May 25.

 

By Mitch Silver

 

Boys Golf“I only go back about 25 years, and I never had a kid win two times!” Rye Boys’ Golf Coach Pat Romano was over the moon after Garnet golfer James McHugh came from four strokes back to claim his second straight Section One championship on Scarsdale’s Fenway Golf Club course May 25.

 

After shooting an opening-round 74 “when I wasn’t striking the ball all that well,” McHugh — who’ll play golf at Penn State — spent his off day working on his game at the Rye Golf Club course before taking on 18-hole leader Brent Ito of Ardsley and a trio of strong Bronxville golfers.

 

“The first hole at Fenway is a 280-yard par 4,” Coach Romano said afterwards. “James drove the green and 2-putted for birdie. He was off and running.”

 

McHugh knew he’d caught up to Ito as he stood at the 11th tee. “The 10th is right there at Fenway, and the group behind us told me their scores.” The Rye golfer finished with an even-par 70 on the day, winning by three strokes over Michigan-bound Ito and Bronxville’s Connor Daly, who’s headed for Villanova.

 

His coach was effusive in his praise. “James is an amazing talent with a tremendous future ahead of him. The best thing is that he is such a nice, respectful, and humble young man.”  

 

There was more praise to be had six days later when the Garnets took on Bronxville in the team tournament at Rye’s own Apawamis Club. The match couldn’t have been any closer. High school teams send six players out on the course — counting the five strongest players — but after 18 holes, Rye and Bronxville were dead even at 204 each.

 

The crown would be decided by each team’s sixth golfer, and Rye’s number 6, Tiernan Gough, came through with a 37, matching the best score of the day, when he rolled in an eight-footer to birdie the final hole. It was a second straight terrific round for the junior, who fired a 36 at Rye Golf Club in the Conference 2 tournament.

 

“He’s had kind of an up-and-down season,” Coach Romano said, smiling. “So for him to come through these last two rounds feels like a million bucks.” Max Kenney (40), McHugh (41), Matt Chambers (42), Will Gladstone (43), and Zach Burder (44) were Rye’s other scorers.

 

Last weekend, McHugh headed up to Cornell to compete in the State public school championship. Shooting par 71 for the opening round at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course, the Garnet found himself in second place, a single stroke behind Somers freshman Nathan Han, a last-minute substitute, and a shot in front of Ito.

 

But it was Bronxville’s Daly who shot par on day two, outpacing Han and Ito by a stroke and McHugh by a pair. In all, Section One’s golfers blitzed their rivals, winning the overall team title by 51 shots.

 

Their top-five finishes qualified Daly, Han, Ito, and McHugh for the State Federation Tournament that includes private and parochial schools. It’s scheduled for Sunday on the demanding Bethpage Black course on Long Island.